The July 1 tweet "liked" by the archbishop of Malta features Charles Joughin, former press secretary for the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, standing with another man at the June 30 LGBTQ Pride Parade in New York City.
The photo is captioned with what may be interpreted as a double entendre: "Going out with a bang!" One interpretation may have been to commemorate the final day of Pride Month, while another might refer to common slang for sexual activity.
The like was deleted from Scicluna's Twitter account. As reported by the National Catholic Register: "Kevin Papagiorcopulo, the head of media for the Archdiocese of Malta, told the Register, 'With reference to your email to Archbishop Scicluna on his Twitter account activity, please be informed that the like was done inadvertently and has since been removed.'"
Not everyone is buying that explanation, however.
"If — as the Maltese Curia alleges — the tweet 'like' was done inadvertently, then naturally His Excellency Mons. Scicluna should not be faulted," said Philip Beattie, president of the Maltese Society for Christian Civilization — Pro Malta Christiana. "I do, however, find it difficult to swallow that one makes such mistakes."
As leader of a Vatican panel investigating clerical sex abuse in Chile from 2002 to 2012, Scicluna earned a reputation as a tough prosecutor after his investigation resulted in every bishop in the South American country resigning.
After 2012, however, Scicluna's stance on homosexuality in the Church seems to have softened significantly.
In December 2018, Church Militant reported a Vatican panel led by Scicluna "rejected recommendations to defrock at least 15 sex abusers, instead reducing their punishments to temporary suspensions ranging from 3–5 years. The clergy come from various countries, including Mexico, Peru and Francis' former country of Argentina."
Appointed by Pope Francis as adjunct-secretary for the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the archbishop of Malta has amassed an ever-growing list of statements, stonewalling and other forms of implied consent for homosexual activities and extramarital heterosexual sex.
Church Militant has followed Scicluna's activity in Malta for some time, reporting in February the archbishop's interpretation of Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia — an interpretation contrary to longstanding Church doctrine regarding granting sacraments to sexually active adulterers.
As noted by Church Militant at the time, the "interpretation mandated that if 'a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages ... to acknowledge and believe that he or she is at peace with God, he or she can not be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.'"
It is the impression of Beattie, however, that Scicluna is moving ever closer to endorsing homosexual unions. For example, according to Beattie, Scicluna's "comments during the February summit on homosexuality are ambiguous to say the least."
Beattie was referring to remarks Scicluna made to the press covering the February Vatican sex abuse summit.
When asked why the committee's documents didn't specifically address credible statistics that 80% of clerical sex abuse cases involved post-pubescent boys, Scicluna responded that heterosexuality and homosexuality are "human conditions that we recognize, and that exist, but they aren't something that really predisposes to sin."
Orthodox Catholic skepticism of Scicluna increased after the archbishop refused to address pro-homosexual comments made by Fr. Kevin Schembri on national television in Malta on March 8.
In that broadcast, Schembri remarked that homosexuality was "part of God's plan" and homosexual relations are perfectly normal "so long as they are based on clear love."